Make sure at least one adult member who is certified in first aid / CPR accompanies the troop/group to all activities.
Although you hope the worst never happens, you must observe council procedures for handling accidents and fatalities. At the scene of an accident, first provide all possible care for the injured person(s). Follow established council procedures for obtaining medical assistance and immediately reporting the emergency. To do this, you must always have on hand the names and telephone numbers of council staff, parents/guardians, and emergency services such as the police, fire department or hospital. Check with your council for emergency contact information and keep your emergency action plan current with the appropriate contact information.
Your council may either have specific emergency contact information, a 24-hour emergency number, or both. Be sure to reach out to them for their preferred method of contact. If a Girl Scout needs emergency medical care as the result of an accident or injury, first contact emergency medical services, and then follow council procedures for accidents and incidents. You will need:
- the exact time and location of the incident,
- a description of the incident,
- the names of the people involved, and
- the names of any witnesses.
After receiving a report of an accident, council staff will immediately arrange for additional assistance at the scene, if needed, and will contact parents/guardians, as appropriate. Your adherence to these procedures is critical, especially with respect to notifying parents or legal guardians. If the media is involved, let council designated staff discuss the incident with media representatives.
In the event of a fatality or other serious accident, the police must be immediately notified. A responsible volunteer must remain at the scene the entire time. In the case of a fatality, do not disturb the victim or surroundings and follow police instructions. Do not share information about the accident with anyone but the police, your council, and, if applicable, insurance representatives or legal counsel.
Girl Scout members need to receive proper instruction in how to care for themselves and others in emergencies. They also need to learn the importance of reporting any accidents, illnesses, or unusual behaviors during Girl Scout activities to adult volunteers. You can help members by keeping the following in mind:
- Know what to report.
- Establish and practice procedures for weather emergencies.
- Know the type of extreme weather to expect in your area (tornadoes, hurricanes, and lightning). Consult with your council for the most relevant information for you to share with Girl Scout members.
- Establish and practice procedures for such circumstances as fire evacuation, lost persons, and building security issues. Every Girl Scout member and adult volunteer must know how to act in these situations. For example, you and your Girl Scout members, with the help of a fire department representative, should design a fire evacuation plan for meeting places used by the group.
- Assemble a well-stocked first aid kit that is always accessible. First aid administered in the first few minutes can make a significant difference in the severity of an injury. In an emergency, secure professional medical assistance as soon as possible, normally by calling 911, and then administer first aid, if appropriately trained.
COUNCIL NOTES: GIRL SCOUTS OF THE NORTHWESTERN GREAT LAKES EMERGENCY PROCEDURES
In the event of a serious injury, emergency, or fatality during a Girl Scout activity, dial 9-1-1 first. Then, call 888.747.6945. If you receive a voice message, press “9” for your call to be routed to the emergency answering service. Be prepared with the following information:
- Caller name / phone number / location
- Nature of the emergency
- Name / age / condition of injured party (s)
- What action has been taken so far
A council spokesperson will call you ASAP. If asked by media to comment, direct them to speak to the council appointed spokesperson ONLY.
For many activities, Girl Scouts recommends that at least one adult volunteer be first aid/CPR certified. You can take advantage of first aid/CPR training offered by organizations such as:
- American Red Cross
- National Safety Council
- EMP America
- American Heart Association
- American Safety and Health Institute (ASHI)
- Other sponsoring organizations approved by your council.
If, through the American Red Cross, National Safety Council, EMP America, or American Heart Association, you have a chance to be fully trained in first aid and CPR, doing so may make your activity planning go a little more smoothly.
Caution. Internet first aid/CPR training that is offered online may be necessary due to COVID-19 restrictions. Whenever in-person training is safely authorized, opt for in-person training. In-person opportunities are ideal to practice and receive feedback on life saving techniques. If taking a course not offered by one of the organizations listed in the previous paragraph, or taking any course that has online components, get approval from your support team or council prior to enrolling in the course to ensure you are using a council approved vendor and that an online training is acceptable.
General First Aider. A general first aider is an adult volunteer who has taken Girl Scout approved first aid and CPR training that includes specific instructions for adult and pediatric CPR, first aid, and AED (Automated External Defibrillator) training that, minimally, includes a face-to-face, hands-on skill checks for:
- checking a conscious victim,
- checking an unconscious victim,
- Adult & Pediatric CPR,
- Adult & Pediatric conscious choking,
- controlling bleeding, and
- sudden illness.
Advanced First Aider. An advanced first aider is an adult with general first aid certification and additional health, safety, or emergency response expertise. For example, a physician, physician’s assistant, nurse practitioner, registered nurse, licensed practical nurse, paramedic, military medic; wilderness training, certified lifeguard, or emergency medical technician (EMT).
The individual activity’s safety activity checkpoints will always tell you when a first aider needs to be present. Since activities can take place in a variety of locations, the presence of a first aider and the qualifications they must have are based on the remoteness and scope of the activity. For example, if you take a two-mile hike in an area that has cell phone reception and service along the entire route and EMS (Emergency Medical Services) is within 30 minutes away, the first aider will not need to have knowledge of Wilderness First Aid. If, on the other hand, you take the same two-mile hike in a more remote area with no cell phone service and where EMS is more than 30 minutes away, the advanced first aider must have knowledge of Wilderness First Aid (see the chart below).
*Although a Wilderness First Responder is not required, it is strongly recommended when traveling with groups in areas that are greater than 30 minutes from EMS.
It is important to understand the differences between a first aid course and a wilderness rated course. Although standard first aid training provides basic incident response, wilderness rated courses include training on remote assessment skills, as well as emergency first aid response, including evacuation techniques to use when EMS is not readily available.
Note: The presence of an advanced first aider is required at resident camp. For large events—200 people or more—there should be, in addition to a regular first aider(s), one advanced first aider for every 200 participants. The following healthcare providers may also serve as advanced first aiders for large groups: physician, physician’s assistant, nurse practitioner, registered nurse, licensed practical nurse, paramedic, military medic, and emergency medical technician.
Make sure a general first aid kit is available at your group meeting place and accompanies Girl Scout members on any activity (including transportation to and from the activity). Please be aware that you may need to provide this kit if one is not available at your meeting place. You can purchase a Girl Scout first aid kit, you can buy a commercial kit, or you and the Girl Scouts can assemble a kit yourselves. The American Red Cross offers a list of potential items in its Anatomy of a First Aid Kit (note that the American Red Cross’s suggested list includes aspirin, which you will not be at liberty to provide without direct parent or guardian permission). You can also customize a kit to cover your specific needs by including flares, treatments for frostbite or snake bites, and the like.
In addition to standard contents, all kits should contain council and emergency telephone numbers (which you can get from your council contact). Girl Scout activity insurance forms, parent consent forms and health histories may also be included.